Category Archives: 01. Progress towards assessment criteria

Progress towards Assessment Criteria

Progress towards Assessment Criteria

On successful completion of this course you’ll be able to:

  • Demonstrate an awareness of the principles of composition when planning and taking photographs using a suitable camera, lenses and other equipment

I upgraded my camera in August and, while I do now feel familiar with it, I refer back to the user manual occasionally for tips and advice. I have found I tend to favour my 18-55mm lens, this is possibly due to my 70-300mm lens having a manual focus setting, which I don’t quite get right every shot. I also find the 70-300mm lens to be quite heavy unless it’s on a tripod. However, as demonstrated in the ‘Focal Lengths’ projects it does have a powerful zoom and I will spend the required time ‘mastering’ it.

After carrying out the projects in ‘The Frame’ I now consider factors such as an element’s position within the frame, frame orientation, angle of camera and balance whilst looking through the viewfinder. Then I press the shutter button.

I look forward to exploring this further in Part two, Elements of Design.

I have spent a lot of time trying to understand exposure. I have found the Präkel (2009) to be helpful in explaining how aperture, shutter speed and ISO interact with each other.

I now feel able to experiment with shutter speeds to create different effects and also to manipulate aperture settings to control depth of field and subsequently, focal point. An example of this would be the image ‘hard’ in Assignment One.

  • Demonstrate a knowledge of the different qualities of light, both natural and artificial, and the properties of colour, using methods of control to pictorial advantage.

A lot of my earlier photographs were either underexposed or overexposed and I have worked to try to understand exposure and how to best avoid clipped highlight and shadows. As I don’t have an external light meter I have found Präkel’s  (2009) advice helpful in explaining how to use the camera’s histogram as a light meter. This combined with experimenting with different metering modes and exposure compensation has created better exposure results that previously.

As I take the majority of my photographs outdoors I have also become aware, through reading and practice, some of the effects that natural light can have on subjects, such as emphasising textures, casting shadows and influencing colours. When setting up the camera I adjust the White Balance as appropriate but when editing I have sampled different WB settings to consider if there is a better option.

I have been experimenting with the flash settings in my camera, such as flash compensation and fill flash to influence exposure . I sampled rear curtain sync flash to create the light trails effects in ‘moving’ from Assignment One.

I have recently begun to read the work of Hunter et al. (2012) which is introducing me to photographic lightning. I’m aware that I will be studying this topic in detail in Part Four of TAoP but as I become more conscious of how light contributes overall to an image I feel as though I would be useful to learn more on this subject now.

  • Show a basic knowledge of the principles of graphic design in photography, conveying information by means of a photograph or a series of photographs

In November I posted an entry on my blog titled ‘Beneath the Surface’. This entry referred to an OCA website article by Sharon Boothroyd regarding the process of reading a photograph. I had previously read Clarke’s (1997) chapter on how to read a photograph but not fully grasped it. I noted in the blog entry that both Sharon’s explanation of ‘denotations’ and ‘connotations’ and her deconstruction of Jeff wall’s ‘Insomnia’ had really helped me to understand Clarke’s writings.  

This learning has been extremely useful as I begun to visit galleries in my area with photography collections. Especially in noting visual analogies, colours and graphic details and then considering what the photographer may be trying to convey. This was useful when I viewed the work of Brooke Shaden, Vivid Dreams and Fragile Machines.

 Assignment One, The Frame has been a good introduction to graphic design in photography. Mostly in considering how an object, a texture or a shape can define a concept or spark feelings or memories. For example, the lollipops used to illustrate ‘hard’ in Assignment One, were inspired by a memory of me breaking a tooth on a hard sweet.

  • Reflect perceptively on your own learning experience.

 I have been writing about my practical experiences with the camera and thoughts on the photographs I have viewed, in my blog. However, as of yet, I haven’t reflected very much on the reading that I have been undertaking. This is possibly, as I tend to feel more comfortable writing when I have things worked out in my head. I know, from previous study experience that when I begin writing I often formulate new questions, thoughts and ideas. Therefore, I will start writing to reflect on, and essentially help me to understand, the reading that I carry out.


Präkel, D (2009) Exposure. Lausanne: AVA Publishing SA

Clarke, G (1997) The Photograph New York: Oxford University Press

Hunter, F, Biver, S, Fuqua, P (2012) Light: Science and Magic. An Introduction to Photographic Lighting  (4th edition) Waltham: Elsevier, Inc